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To me Frank Lloyd Wright exists almost exclusively as a solemn, still, grey image of a man in old pictures.  I am, of course, familiar with his work, everyone is but I would be hard-pressed to explain any details of the mans affect and demeanor.  If you asked me what would Frank Lloyd Wright seem like on a game show for instance, I likely would have shrugged at you and said “your guess is as good as mine”

Thanks to the fine people at the Game Show Network (with an assist from Edward Lifson) I can now answer that question by saying he would seem slightly bored and out of it.  I think just about any nearly-90-year-old-man would fare about the same.

I have to say I am amazed that one of the contestants (I am not sure who she was though I recognized Peter Lawford on the panel) figured out who he was with the tiniest amount of information.  That woman is either a super sleuth or peeked under blindfold.

There is an almost sweet moment at the end of the clip where he tells the blowhard host (who kept answering his damn questions for him) that he just finished a new project on the western prairies and laments not bringing pictures of the project.  As he earnestly describes his desire to share his work with the audience he seems less like the archetypal architect-megalomaniac and more like an eager new student eager to show off his skills.  I guess that is a product of doing what you love.

The project he is describing is Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma.  Price Tower was the architects tallest project it is startlingly tall considering Wright, God of the low-slung, prairie-style, designed it.  Perhaps even more odd is that it towers above the flat prairie that inspired most of Wright’s work in a town of barely 35,000 people.

The high-rise which was perfhaps a bit gratuitous was once described as 19 floor to hold up an office buy th buildings patron, just the same it and the Johnson Wax Building in Racine, Wisconsin are beautiful, vertical rethinkings of the wide, wide prairie style.

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In the myriad skill-based reality TV shows I always thought it was shocking there wasn’t an architecture based show in the mix. I sat through countless episodes of Project: Runway with my roommates thinking “I could give two poots about dresses. What about buildings?! “ Also, having been around architecture students quite a bit I can say they can give even the most nasty fashionistas a run for their money when it comes to being catty.

Well, tonight at 9pm (8pm CT/10MT) my wish will be fulfilled when the Sundance Channel premieres Architecture School, TV’s first reality-TV show about architecture.

The six episode series will follow the trials and tribulations of a group of architecture students as they compete by designing a 1200sq ft, affordable homes for post-Katrina New Orleans. The semi-humanitarian focus of the project may be an attempt to rise above the petty drama or your average reality TV show but the stakes will be high. The winning project will actually be produced and sold and likely appear in boldface type on the winners resume. That might be enough for the gloves to come off.

For those of you who don’t get the Sundance channel the episodes will be available for purchase through iTunes. In fact, the first episode is already available. I am downloading it right this moment.

Check out the Architecture School Website

Comment and tell us what you think!

UPDATE: Archinect has an article about the making of the show as well as an interview with its creators.

I found out about this on UNbeige. The finest of all the design blogs on the internet and one of my daily reads.

UPDATE #2
Rob Tate, one of the creators of Architecture School commented here to point out the collaborative nature of though show. He says “It is more about the cooperation of the class to design and build the house rather than a reality competition show.”

This actually makes the series that much more appealing to me. I think it will be great for a general audience to see just how much architects and the amount of collaboration that goes into good design. Mr. Tate also noted that the show goes all the way through the actual building process. Even better!

I am about to watch the first episode now on my iPhone. Be sure to Let us know what you think in a comment!

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